Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Movies for boys and girls together

Earlier today I was asked to shred a ton of paper's for Bob's office at Tribeca, and it seemed to be pretty pointless. Basically anything that had his name on it had to be shredded, even if it didn't have his address or phone number. I would have rather recycled it, but I understand the need for privacy in his personal life, and I respect that. One thing though that I thought was a bit superfluous was a copy of the newest draft for Little Fockers (the third in the meet the parents series). I can't imagine that anyone would be dumpster (or recycle) diving for a copy of this script, and as there are so many interns and other low rung people here who have access to the script (myself included, I've already read the script - at least this draft - and I know I'm not the only one), if this was going to get out, it probably would have already (assuming only someone low on the totem pole would leak the script). I think it's just a bit overly cautious of them, but that's just coming from someone who is a big fan of recycling (one can only recycle shredded paper if it's brought to a special drop off point, it doesn't get curbside pick up, and I don't think - though can be wrong - that we do that here). Not really a big deal as it's only about 100 pages, but still, it's the general principle that irks me.

After doing all the shredding I came back to my desk with naught else to do. All the office save one exec is off for an extended labor day weekend (lucky them). Said exec who is here, Hardy Justice, is one of the nicest guys I've ever met or worked for (and has the most kickass real name out of anyone I've ever know, topping one of my brother's friend's named - and I kid you not, his full legal name - Lightning Jay) and he's out at a lunch meeting currently. Thus, after scrolling through the job boards, I tooled around on the interweb and came across this post of movies guys and girls can enjoy together. I was a bit inspired and decided to create my own list of ten movies you can rent, lean back, and enjoy with your boyfreind/girlfreind/wife/husband/or whomever without having to worry if it's a guy flick or a chick flick.

In no particular order:

Synopsis: Nerdy guy from a small town in Victorian England promises a manipulative but beautiful girl he'll bring her a falling star as an engagement gift, and sneaks off to a magical kingdom to retrieve said star only to find the star is a beautiful girl, and must rescue her from an evil witch who wants to eat her heart to stay immortal. Of course said Nerdy guy turns into a heroic and handsome hero, while he falls in love with the star, and she with him.

What appeals to the dudes: Robert De Niro, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfiffer, explosions+magic+adventure=Awesome.
What appeals to the ladies: Beefcake lead, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfiffer, Happy lovey dovey ending.

Synopsis: If you haven't seen this movie already you have been living under a rock. Orlando Bloom must team up with scaliwag pirate Johnny Depp to save his secret love Keira Knightly from evil Zombie Pirates lead by Geoffrey Rush.

What appeals to the dudes: Johnny Depp, Sword fights, zombies, explosions (and Keira Knightly if you're into that sort of girl)
What appeals to the ladies: Johnno Depp, Orlando Bloom, (somewhat) Forbidden Romance+Victorian setting=instant chick appeal.

Synopsis: An underground flight club turns into a social revolution.

What appeals to the dudes: Intense Violence, scarily relateable psuedophilosophy that makes you feel smart, big explosions at the end.
What appeals to the ladies: Brad Pitt and Edward Norton extremely ripped and often shirtless, Strange yet endearing love story.

Synopsis: An average plane flight goes out of control when the passengers and crew all come down with a case of food poisoning. Only one man can save them, a former pilot suffering PTSD after flying rescue missions in Vietnam. Hilarity ensues.

What appeals to the dudes and the ladies: Outright hilariousness spoof. The synopsis sounds bleak but there is nothing not funny about this movie. Leslie Neilson in his first real comedy, and the Zucker Brothers at their best.

Synopsis: In a city where it's always night an amnesiac must decipher his own identity while eluding the police who want to arrest him for murder. His quest deepens when he discovers the city has a secret far scarier than his own and his search for his life turns into a battle for the minds of every citizen.

What appeals the the dudes: Jennifer Connelly, aliens+super powers+noir detective+special effects=awesomeness.
What appeals the the ladies: Jennifer Connelly, Rufus Sewall (if you're into that sort of guy), touching romance+comment on love knowing no bounds=us putty in your hands.

Synopsis: A comedy set in 1940's Hong Kong two small time hoodlums try to break into the notorious Axe Gang, but wind up saving the small slum in which they live from the gang and the most deadly martial artist in the world.

What appeals to the kid in all of us: Equally awesome and hilarious Kung Fu fight choreography+over the top cartoon like special effect sequences+endearing story about growth, friendship and community (and throw in a bit of love)=Stephen Chow is cooler than Jackie Chan.

Synopsis: An archeologist, a paleontologist, a mathematician, and two prepubescent kids, are trapped on an island filled with ferocious Dinosaurs.

What appeals to the dudes: Dinosaurs on the attack (need I say more?)
What appeals the the ladies: One of the few actually intelligent female characters in a leading role ever in an action movie (Laura Dern as the Paleontologist), and a grouchy old man who hates kids learns to love kids (in a healthy way).

Synopsis: An updated live action version of the classic Archie comic back up characters, who also had their own animated TV show in the 70's.

What appeals to the dudes: Rachel Leigh Cook, and Rosario Dawson (and I guess Tara Reid if you like trashy), mockery of everything that turned MTV from a cool station where you could stay up late watching headbangers ball (if you don't get the reference you make me feel very old) to a 12 year old girls wet dream.
What appeals to the ladies: Empowering gals standing up, taking control, and getting it all on their own terms. Power girl rocker soundtrack.

ALIENS (or if you are the mood for something a bit more esoteric ALIEN, the third one Alien³ is totally just a guy movie and the fourth isn't worth seeing by anyone)
Synopsis: Ripley (as played by Sigourney Weaver) is stuck in outerspace fending off really creepy looking parasitic, and evil aliens (or alien if your just watching the first one), with weird double mouths and acid for blood.

What appeals the the dudes: Balls the wall sci-fi action, humans vs. the scariest looking aliens ever captured on film. (for Alien, suspense so thick not only will she be clinging to your arm, but you'll be clinging to hers).
What appeals the the ladies: Strong female lead kicking ass and taking names, Ripley is the original three dimensional badass female lead who paved the way for the few who followed in what generally is a male dominated field.

Synopsis: Two Free Range Cattle drivers run into trouble with a greedy land Baron in the old west.

What appeals to the dudes: Gun slinging, tough taking cowboys, doing what cowboys do best, drinking, killing, and saving small towns from despotic rich folk and the corrupt local law.
What appeals to the ladies: The fleshed out sensitive side of Kevin Costner as a cowboy and gunhand and the soft, subtle and quietly moving love story between him and Annette Benning.

Five Honorable Mentions (a bit more niche rentals that, though appeal to both men and women, aren't big hollywood movies, thus have a smaller demographic in general):
Samurai Champloo (not a movie but an anime TV series - one complete story told in 26 episodes, get over that it's anime and it holds up very well)
But I'm A Cheerleader
Live From Baghdad
Edward Scissorhands

If anyone has any ideas of their own they'd like to add or refute, (assuming anyone has cared to read all this) I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dear Sucky Starbucks Customers,

A note of warning, if you are not a sucky Starbucks customer then this letter probably won't apply and you need not read its message to stop sucking. That being said, you very well maybe a sucky customer of a different establishment and might want to take that into consideration before patting yourself on the back. If you are a delightful customer then this clearly doesn't apply to you, and kudos for being delightful, you are an unfortunate rare breed of consumer who should be encouraged. If only all customers were like you the world would be an easier place to live. If you aren't sure where you fall, the chances are you're probably only a little bit sucky, which can be easily rectified. With that warning in mind I shall begin.

Dear Sucky Starbucks Customers,

I'm sure you aren't bad people. You don't rape small animals, you don't torture children, you probably even pay your taxes on time, and those are all things you should be proud of. When it comes to your Coffee shop etiquette, however, you need a lot of work.

The first rule of all shopping: don't order if you don't have any enough money. I know, you are going to make a crack about Starbucks being over priced (and I'll get to that in a moment) but seriously, how hard is it to actually bring your wallet in with you? Not only are you wasting the time of the people behind you, you're wasting your time, and most importantly, my time. I can't give you the drink if you can't pay for it. Do you go to a clothing store with out enough funds and expect them to discount that shirt you really want because you're a dollar short? They'll tell you to put it back on the shelf, or hold it aside until you come back with enough money. Same works for coffee. No money, no coffee.

"I just forgot my wallet in the car. I'll run out and get it." Fine, great, may I recommend checking for your wallet before you walk into the store? You are penalizing the people behind you in, making them wait longer for their drinks, while you run to your car. Here's how it works. You stand in line, you order a drink, I call out the drink to the barista, the barista makes the drink while you pay. If you can't pay, the drink is still made because we assume you have the fucking money. Thus the people behind you, who could have ordered now must wait longer for their drinks because the drink you ordered but can't pay for is wasting their time. So what's a minute or so? Well, people I've found are generally cranky, people in dire need of affine are even crankier, and you're delaying their caffeine fix. I'm sure you can do the math on this one. Also, we aren't going to remake your drink because you're an idiot who can't keep track of your wallet. Your drink will be sitting out for you until you come and pay for it, meaning it will be cold (or warm if it is supposed to be cold) when you finally get it. And is that really what you want? No it is not.

Yes, Starbucks lingo is pretty stupid sounding. I know it's difficult to remember the name of the decaf, double tall, no foam, extra vanilla, breve caramel macchiatto that you love. But guess what, you don't have to remember all that. All you have to do is tell the person working the register what you want in your drink. If you want three shots extra of espresso, just say, "with three extra shots of espresso" and we'll do it for you. If you want half and half just say so. You don't have to speak in Starbucks-ese. Those of us who work behind the counter call it out in a certain Starbucks way because it actually makes the job easier. I say "double tall, breve, no foam latte" to the person making the drink because it's easier and quicker than saying, a tall latte with two shots of espresso and half and half with no foam. Just like diners have their own lingo, so do we. A Tall is a small, Grande is a medium, and Venti is a large. If you can't remember that (and no one is asking you to) just say small, medium, or large. We understand English. Most of us working don't really care what you say. For the love of god, people, jokes made about the names of the sizes or how we call out drinks stopped being funny in the early ninties. You aren't being clever, just annoying and derivative. Get over yourself. If you want to engage me in conversation that's cool. Management would like nothing less than a personal connection with each customer. But I can only hear the same comment so many times before I want to kill you. Talk about something more interesting, like the weather, or the Olympics, or even the Yankees (though I would prefer the Red Sox). You aren't funny, just fifteen years behind the times. Move on.

I'm only going to say this once, I have no control over the prices of any of the food or beverages we sell. Complaining to me will not get the prices to change. Telling me "well, this is why Starbucks is doing so poorly right now." Or "Coffee shouldn't be this expensive." Won't make me sympathetic to you. In fact every time I hear that (which is far too often) I have to resist the urge of spitting in your drink.

What you are paying for when you shop at Starbucks: A livelyhood for coffee farmers. It shouldn't be a shock to learn that just like every other independent farmer coffee growers are regularly screwed by everyone else. In fact the price of coffee beans is so undervalued that farmers barely survive on their coffee, if they can survive at all.

Starbucks is far from perfect in regards to the treatment of their growers, however, compared to almost every other multinational coffee company, They are practically saints. Because it's comparative that isn't really saying much, and more should be done, but that would make the price of coffee get even higher, and I know you'd hate that, no matter how many people it will help.

Another thing you're paying for when you shop at Starbucks: My health insurance. Unlike many other fast food companies (and that's really what Starbucks is turning into) they actually treat their employees well. As long as I continue to work at least 20 hours a week I get health insurance, vision, and dental. I also get stock options, and paid vacation hours. I am treated very well by my employers. In fact I think Starbucks should be the template for all other fast food places when it comes to treatment of employees. I lived for two whole years without insurance and believe me, it is not fun at all. If you think that complaining about the price (ie, the fact that Starbucks cares for its employees well being) is somehow going to endear me to you, well you're a fucking moron. If you are such a miserable bastard that thinks just because I work in food service means I should be treated like shit then fuck you. How about I go to your office and complain that you get paid too much to your face and that you don't deserve health benefits because it's mildly inconvenient to me? I'm sure that would make us the best of friends.

If you really think that Starbucks is over priced, I have a simple solution, don't go there. There are other places for coffee. Dunkin' Donuts, Tim Horton's, McDonalds, Burger King, Krispe Kreme, every side of the road and greasy spoon diner, and every 7-11 and every other convenience store known to man all sell coffee cheaper than Starbucks. If you really don't want to pay Starbucks prices you have plenty of options. So stop your damn complaining no one if forcing you to come here.

You are welcome to use our bathroom, even if you don't purchase anything. I'm a human being, I too use the bathroom. It's OK. What isn't OK: peeing or shitting all over the floor. The toilet exists for a reason, use it. After you wash your hands put the used paper towels in the garbage. This really isn't brain surgery. It's right next to the sink. Use it! Speaking of the garbage, if you are going to shoot up in there - fine I could care less - just don't throw the needles away in our garbage. That's an accident waiting to happen. I don't want to get what ever disease you might have getting stabbed through a garbage bag by your syringe because you are an inconsiderate junkie. This goes to the diabetics as well. Please discard your syringe safely. Lastly, and I can't stress this point enough, FLUSH THE FUCKING TOILET WHEN YOU ARE DONE. I don't think I need to explain this last one.

There is more, but those are the key points and this letter is long enough already. Please try and stop being so sucky.

Thank you.


P.S. to you fellow employees of Starbucks, if a customer asks for a small, don't correct them. If they really have that hard of a time remembering what size is called what, even though based on price on the menu alone and the cups on display it should be obvious, then it's just not worth your time. Don't be a dick about it, OK? Thanks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nastia is so nice (worst - and most likely most over used - pun ever!)

Worked a fifteen hour shift today. Got home at 11 in the PM. Stayed up late to watch the Olympics and then the most recent episode of Madmen (DVRed it - though am not sure if DVRed is the way to Verbificate DVR). Now for some reason I'm blogging in bed (hooray lap top computers) about how tired I am and how much I should go to sleep.

An open letter to all the Starbucks customers who piss me off is definitely forthcoming. Unless something spectacular happens in my life that I must write about it will be the next post.

And sucks for Nastia Luikin, who tied for gold, only to get silver. The system is messed up. That shouldn't stand (and if people can share gold in other sports, why not gymnastics? or am I wrong about the other sports?). Boo to the judges - I'm looking at you australia, but hooray for Nastia for being awesome.

Friday, August 15, 2008

When Fans unite why is it always in hate?

Just saw The Dark Knight for the second time last night (this time in IMax). It's a good movie. Flat out a good movie. It's broken many, many box office records all over the world showing that I'm clearly not the only one that thinks it's a good movie. Chances are you find a random person on the street and ask them what they think of the movie they'll tell you they liked it (provided they saw it).

So why don't comic book fans like it as much as everyone else?
Exhibit A: Joe Rice at Comic book Resources.

I was going to give an exhibit B but it was the New Yorker magazine guy, and he hates movies. I don't know why they even have him review for them.

I know that Comic book resources doesn't speak for all comic fans, and I'm sure there are plenty of other comic book websites that I don't know about since I don't really care about the websites and future spoilers, and though I like comic books, I don't obsess over them. Given that, and I'd like you to please bear with me, I want to use this as an entry as to why comic book fans will never be happy with any comic book adaptation. Are you ready for it?

Because they thing they can do it better themselves. It's that simple. And 99.9% of them are wrong. They can't do it better. Because even if they somehow get the chance to make a new Batman, Hulk, Spider-man, Superman, or whoever-man movie, there'd be other comic book fans complaining that they got it wrong.

Thus, as a comic book fan myself, I've decided to stop comparing the comic to the movie and vice-versa, and try and judge them as complete separate entities.

When the Watchmen movie comes out I'll try to hold off any judgment until I see it, and not compare it to the Graphic novel on which it is based. Really, I don't want to turn into one of those crazy fans who hate everything, yet spend there money on all the things they claim they hate (and if any body out there who reads this also reads Secret Invasion, Final Crisis, or any major crossover in the Marvel and DC universe, you know what I'm taking about).

Saturday, August 02, 2008

oh crap

I was playing around with a template and accidently chose a new one (wanted to preview, didn't realize what I was doing) and consequently lost all my old links. I had them saved on my computer (I try to back up everything - I lost almost everything on my old computer and now back up like a mad man), but my html isn't strong enough to figure out how to put it back in. So please bear with me (the three people out there who actually bother to read this blog) while I figure out how to fix it.

How sad is it that this is what I'm doing with my Saturday night?